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Tag:Arizona State
Posted on: April 21, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Arizona State's new logo could be gang favorite

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last week Arizona State unveiled it's new football uniforms and school logo. As is always the case when a school or professional team comes out with a new uniform, some people liked it, and others didn't. I fell in the group that liked the new look of the Sun Devils' threads. However, that opinion is not shared by a fellow member of the city I call home, Chicago. It seems that there is one police officer in Chicago, Sergeant Kenneth Epich, who is more worried about how popular the new logo of his alma mater may become with area gangs.

And [Epich]'s convinced that it is a matter of time before what he described as a "large, violent, mostly Hispanic Chicago street gang" called Satan's Disciples adopts ASU's new athletic gear because of the new trident logo.

"The gangs adopt sports teams and wear their gear," Epich said. "The S.D.'s are going to adopt the (ASU) hat as their hat of choice just as soon as they see the first person wearing one."

Epich has been a member of Chicago's Area One Gang Enforcement unit for 25 years, and odds are, he's totally correct. The Satan's Disciples probably will adopt the pitchfork logo as one of their own, seeing that it already fits a pitchfork they use in their current insignia, and that Sun Devils share the same initials as Satan's Disciples. That's just the way life works with gangs, who often adopt the merchandise of sports teams to their gangs. Whether it's because of a logo, initials or colors.

That isn't going to change. Still, the best advice I can give to Sgt. Epich is to just shut up and deal with it. To make the claim that kids walking around Chicago with an Arizona State hat on just because they like it are going to get beaten up or killed is just misinformed and purposely misleading. I grew up as a Chicago White Sox fan in this city, and when the White Sox made the change to the current colors and logo they have now, their merchandise became a big hit amongst gangs as well.

Guess how many times I've been beaten up for wearing a Sox hat in this city? None. Neither will any other kid who is wearing a Sun Devils hat because odds are that little Johnny Suburbs isn't going to be walking through the neighborhoods where he might actually be confused for a rival gang member.

Really, what this all comes down to is the fact that Epich went to Arizona State and he doesn't like the idea of seeing gang members, the ones he's tasked with arresting every day, wearing clothes with Arizona State's logo on it. That's it. He's not worried about public safety, he's worried about his own image of his alma mater.

Had this been Duke adopting a similar logo, Epich would have never given it a second thought.

Posted on: April 21, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: April 21, 2011 10:51 am
 

Arizona LB Fischer out with ACL tear

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It has not been a good spring for anterior cruciate ligaments in the state of Arizona.

And it only got worse yesterday, with the news that starting Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer will undergo surgery next week to repair a torn ACL suffered in Saturday's spring game. Fischer will miss at least the start of the 2011 season, if not longer.

The bad news for the Wildcats is that Fischer -- who finished in the team's top six in tackles, tackles-for-loss, and sacks last year -- will likely be replaced by a trio of true freshmen who haven't even arrived on campus yet, per the Arizona Daily Star. The worse news is that Fischer is the third Wildcat to tear his ACL this spring, following starting safety Adam Hall and backup running back Greg Nwoko.

So is there any silver lining to the Wildcats' injury woes? If there is, it's that their in-state rivals in Tempe have it just as bad in the torn ligament department, if not worse.

We're not aware of anything that could be slipped into Arizona's drinking water that would attack the ACLs of college athletes. But officials might want to start checking, just to be certain.


Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:27 am
 

Arizona St., Wazzu get new looks

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Last Friday we mentioned that Arizona State was prepping for the unveiling of a new set of uniforms. As it turns out, what Nike cooked up for the Sun Devils wasn't only a new look but an entire "re-branding" of the entire athletic department. Behold:





Our first question: has Nike found a way to make the uniforms smoke like that even when they're on the field? Some sort of tiny dry ice machine hidden in the shoulder pads? Because, dude, that would be intimidating.

And isn't that intimidation sort of the point of this overhaul? You'll notice that when it comes to the helmet logo, "Sparky" -- the mischievous devil who's adorned ASU helmets since 1980 -- has been exiled to a sticker on the rear of the helmet, with only a souped-up version of his pitchfork remaining. It's a bit of a shame, really; charming cartoons and decades of tradition are out, Jerry Glanville- esque monoblack alternates are in. (And about the logo, guys, Maserati called ... )

Then again, those new road whites do look pretty sweet, and the home look isn't bad if the Sun Devils keep the gold pants and stay away from the corporate-looking mono-red.

But nonetheless, our choice for the best new uniform of the week belongs to Washington State, who also picked this week to unveil a set of new Nike-designed looks. Check out the new gray alternates, complete with all-gray helmet:



It's the little tocuhes -- the crimson Pac-12 logo, the gray Wazzu helmet logo -- that make this intriguing. (You can see the standard home-and-away uniforms here, which have both been more tweaked than overhauled.) Now if Phil Knight and Co. would get rid of the Oregon number font that looks like 2004's idea of numbers from the year 2034, we'll really be in business.

Posted on: April 8, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 4/8

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.

FOUR LINKS ...

1. It's not easy for a school like Mississippi State to keep up with the Joneses of the SEC when it comes to the facilities arms race ... but $12 million worth of private donation sure helps. The artist's rendition of the future "Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex" (which will house practice fields a weight room, coaches' offices, etc.) looks like so:



2. It sounds like new Colorado coach Jon Embree isn't wasting any time reshaping the Buffaloes roster. Though a round of cuts (unfortunately) isn't exactly unprecedented for a new coaching administration, it will be interesting to see if there's any pushback from the Boulder media or academic types over his cancellation of scholarships for "effort"-related reasons that seem to straddle the "violation of team rules" line.

One player who won't mind Embree's arrival regardless: Buff kicker Justin Castor, who watched Dan Hawkins burn his redshirt last season to attempt just one field goal.

3. Unlike most sports teams, when choosing a design for their Rose Bowl championship rings, TCU went reserved, classy, tasteful :



Or, perhaps, the opposite of that. (Not that they don't deserve rings that would fit around this blogger's wrist, of course.)

4. After the success of last year's Illinois-Northwestern game at Wrigley Field (and that in the face of the "offense only faces one way" debacle), it's no surprise that the Boston Red Sox would consider hosting a college football game of their own at Fenway Park. Though such a game is still just a twinkle in the Sox executive's eye at this stage, it's no surprise that Boston College fans would like to volunteer their team's services.

AND THE CLOUD ...

Cal receiver Tevin Carter has left the Bears program citing a lack of interest in football; Carter did not catch a pass last season ... "Top-level donors" at Arizona State are getting a sneak peek at the team's new uniforms ... Minnesota signee Peter Westerhaus suffered a skull fracture and received 50 stitches after being hit in the face by a boulder on a family hiking trip in the Grand Canyon. He'll be fine for fall practice, though ... Staying with the Gophers, a bill to allow alcohol sales in TCF Bank Stadium's "premium seating" has made it through committee ... The intensity of the Iron Bowl rivalry extends itself to a gymnastics meet, not that you should be surprised by that ... And speaking of Auburn, reserve linebacker Jessel Curry and reserve safety Ryan Smith are not currently with the Tigers during spring practice, though the door to their return doesn't sound closed yet ... And speaking of Alabama, here's 50 photos (!) illustrating the process (pun intended ) of bringing the Tide's new Nick Saban statue to, uh, life ...  A useful look at the SEC's overall athletic program program margins, of which football is obviously the largest part ... Things got feisty at Texas A&M's practice this week ... The most in-depth 2011 preview of UL-Monroe you're going to find, courtesy of new stats-loving blog Football Study Hall .


Posted on: April 7, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 4/7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Once a week, our Eye on College Football Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting. Enjoy:

  • The big news in recruiting this week was the release of most services' initial "top 100" lists for the class of 2012, and Tom Lemming and our colleagues at Maxpreps were no exception. The full Tom Lemming top 100 is now available, topped by Springfield (Mo.) receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Eye on Recruiting breaks down the main storylines within the top 100 here; Bryan Fischer discusses the top 100 in a must-listen podcast here; and the recruitment of the list's top 10 prospects (Green-Beckham included) is updated here. There's no better time to get informed on where the 2012 recruiting cycle stands.
  • None of those lists are as full of names as the SEC's, though, with no league save the Big 12 having embraced early commitments the way the SEC powers have; Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Florida all have five pledges or more and only Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have yet to add their first name of the cycle.
  • This is not old news: Malcom Brown has committed to Texas. But this time it's not five-star running back Malcolm Brown (who famously joined the Longhorns this past Signing Day,) it's a highly-regarded defensive tackle out of Brenham (Texas), one who Longhorn sports information workers are no doubt very glad spells his first name without a second "L." 
  • Recruiting in the Bluegrass State is heating up. Charlie Strong has flexed his muscle over the past year at Louisville, but last week it was Joker Phillips who fought off the Cardinals as well as Cincinnati and others) for in-state quarterback Patrick Towles. 
  • It took a little longer than expected, perhaps, given the Ducks' tremendous 2010 season. But Oregon is on the board all the same after receiving a pledge from Newport (Ore.) athlete Oshay Dunsmore. Staying in the Pac-12, Stanford has continued Jim Harbaugh's nationwide recruiting push under David Shaw, netting a commitment this week from Virginia defensive back Alex Carter. 
  • Bryan Fischer was on hand to watch Atwater (Calif.) defensive tackle Aziz Shittu dominate the Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp; here's his full report on Shittu's performance and all the goings-on at the camp.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did. 
Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Arizona St. loses two starters to ACL tears

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Sometimes spring practice brings bad news: a broken ankle, an academic suspension, a player or two who can't seem to get on track.

And sometimes, unfortunately, the news goes beyond "bad." That's the kind of news Arizona State's Dennis Erickson was forced to announce yesterday, confirming that two senior Sun Devil starters' seasons are in jeopardy after tearing their ACLs in spring camp:

Senior cornerback Omar Bolden and senior receiver T.J. Simpson will undergo surgery next week and continue rehab. 

Simpson was the first to be injured followed by Bolden two days later during practice last week. Both players performed big last year and were expected to do the same in the upcoming season. Bolden was an All-Pac-10 selection, and Simpson had 29 catches for 481 yards.

"Those guys have been here ever since I've been here," Erickson said after practice Tuesday. "They battled through a lot of things. They worked their rear ends off and now they get to this point in their career and they get hurt."

Even details like "All-Pac-10" and "481 receiving yards" don't entirely do justice to how devastating the losses of Bolden and Simpson are. Without Bolden, the Sun Devils not only won't start one of the nation's best cover corners, they'll likely be forced to replace him with untested redshirt freshman Devan Spann. (The Sun Devils now have only two scholarship corners available this spring.) Simpson, meanwhile, was easily ASU's biggest deep threat a year ago, the only Sun Devil wideout with more than three receptions to average better than 13.5 yards a reception. 

Thanks to USC's postseason ban, the Sun Devils have been the tentative offseason favorite to claim the inaugural Pac-12 South divisional title. But with every further blow in what's been a tumultuous offseason -- be it the concussion-forced departure of Steven Threet, an uninspiring recruiting class, players arrested or shot -- ASU's favorite role has been more and more tentative, and now the loss of Bolden and Simpson is the biggest blow of all.

Meaning that unless Brock Osweiler and Vontaze Burfict live up to every inch of their hype and then some, it may finally be time for the prognosticators to look elsewhere.

Posted on: March 24, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 7:46 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Arizona State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Arizona State, who started spring practice on Tuesday. 

Spring Practice Question: Are Brock Osweiler and Vontaze Burfict ready to step up and lead the Sun Devils?

Oh what a difference a year makes.

Coming out of spring practice a year ago, Arizona State was picked to finish in the bottom half of the Pac-10 and faced issues at just about every position group. Entering the spring this year, the Sun Devils are now considered the favorite to win a Pac-12 South title thanks to 18 returning starters from last year's squad that played top ten teams Oregon, Stanford and Wisconsin tough.

"I thought last year we were really close, now I feel like we're here," head coach Dennis Erickson said at his pre-spring press conference. "Now we've got to do it on the field. Numbers wise, even though we've got a lot of seniors, we do have a lot of young guys playing. We're finally at a place, where if we have the success we think we're going to have next year, that we can plug guys in the year after that and the year after that and the year after that."

One starter returning is junior quarterback Brock Osweiler but it might be a bit of a stretch to actually call him a returning starter. Osweiler played in just five games last season but came on strong in two starts at the end of the year, a blow out of UCLA and an upset win at archrival Arizona.

"Yes, without a question, he is the guy," Erickson said. "Now who is two...that's kind of where we are going into spring football."

In addition to refining the 6-foot-7 quarterback's game this spring, finding a backup (important considering the revolving door at the position recently) is an unexpected challenge for Erickson and staff. Former starter Steven Threet had to retire due to concussions and Samson Szakacsy left the team to pursue other interests. Despite the vacancy at backup quarterback, Erickson still feels as though he has a talented group of quarterbacks with Osweiler, redshirt freshman Taylor Kelly and early enrollee Michael Bercovici.

"It's the best I've ever been around in college, or any place I have ever been, I've never had it that deep," Erickson said "Three of them are unproven, of course. But physical talent...from what you can see is pretty amazing."

Quite a statement for the fifth-year head coach to make considering some of his stops in college and the NFL, such as with the Miami Hurricanes and the San Francisco 49ers. All three quarterbacks have strong arms and can throw it anywhere on the field but Osweiler's maturity and experience have him firmly planted atop the depth chart. The lack of a quarterback battle has allowed him to focus less on beating another player and more on just being himself.

"It's a lot different," Osweiler told the Arizona Republic. "I'm a lot more comfortable. I've been in the offense for a year, and it's a little different. There's not exactly a quarterback competition, so it kind of takes that weight off you and just allows you to play."

Fans in Tempe are hoping that he can duplicate his numbers from the games against UCLA and Arizona, where he threw five touchdowns and no picks in helping the team reach the .500 mark on the year. With the expectation that Osweiler can successfully pilot the offense, Arizona State is undergoing a few minor tweaks this spring in order to help him get the ball in the hands of playmakers like running back Cameron Marshall.

"I think we'll add a few things. It might even be simpler than it's been," Erickson said. "I think one thing we can do right now is line up and run the football without having to trick people. I don't know if that's more complex or simpler. But we're not going to change a lot of things. I think that happens sometimes when you look at this offense is you have success and start putting too much in and they don't become as good."

On the other side of the ball, personal foul machine Vontaze Burfict is expected to - and we're not joking - take on a leadership role as an upperclassman this year. Though he has typically been known for a lack of self control on the field, the recent offseason program has given the talented middle linebacker a chance to help his team instead of hurt it.

"It's amazing his change in the last three months. Now, he doesn't miss workouts, ever," Erickson said. "He's a leader out there doing all sorts of stuff. He's in the best shape I've ever seen him in. He's a big time leader out there.

"The light just came on. I think the light came on at the end of last year. I think from the Stanford game on. I think having some success and winning, and saying maybe that gray-haired (coach) knows a little bit about what's going on."

Spring Practice Primers
In addition to showing NFL scouts he has what it takes to play at the next level between the ears, the 6-foot-3, 240 pound linebacker has set a high bar for the season that goes beyond just a division title.

"I'm trying to get us to a national championship," Burfict said, "and to do that, I feel like I need to become more of a leader."

In addition to leading by example, Burfict will have to get used to playing behind two new defensive tackles following the departure of Lawrence Guy and Saia Falahola. Oft-injured tackle Corey Adams is talented but needs to stay on the field and Will Sutton will return after being academically ineligible last season. Despite a few new parts on defense, all eyes this spring will be on how the new and improved Burfict plays.

"I don't know why he had that chip on his shoulder. Maybe it was immaturity," Erickson said. "But it's totally different now."

The head coach hopes spring practice is totally different from years past as well. In addition to seeing Osweiler and Burfict step up their roles on the team, Erickson understands how much this spring means for the future of the program.

"I mean this is my fifth year. I have been going at this for four years," he said. "For me, I think it's a very important season for this program, no question about it."

If the Sun Devils are going to take the leap this upcoming spring and lay the foundation for a run, they'll have to hope Osweiler and Burfict take the necessary leap as leaders. The talk is certainly encouraging and there's no doubt that Osweiler is top dog on offense and Burfict has a better head on his shoulders on defense. But if Arizona State wants to see success in the fall, the next few weeks of spring practice are all about seeing if the two can start walking the walk and not mearly talking the talk.

Posted on: March 8, 2011 11:59 am
 

Arizona St. RB Lewis back after shooting

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

For Arizona State all-purpose running back Deantre Lewis, it would have been nice if his story heading into the Sun Devils' spring practice was how he was going to build on a promising freshman season in which he ran for 539 yards and added an additional 370 yards receiving.

But it's not, because Lewis is the player who made headlines in February for being shot in the buttocks on a trip home to Norco, Calif., one of several less-than-positive developments for the Sun Devils this offseason. There's some good news, though: head coach Dennis Erickson said yesterday that Lewis shouldn't miss any time this spring despite the incident:
"Well, this time yesterday he was out running, doing some stuff. Our trainers feel like he'll be ready for spring football. His health is fine. It's just a mentally scary thing for a guy. He's fortunate, being shot is bad enough, but he knows that it could have been a lot worse."
That's no doubt true, doubly so when spring football will give him the earliest possible opportunity to put the shooting behind him*. And if the Sun Devils are going to build on their buzz-by-default in the fledgling Pac-12 South (even without quarterback Steven Threet), a key cog like Lewis will have to do just that sooner rather than later.

*Yes, the pun is intended. Sorry.

 
 
 
 
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